Clive Davis (born April 4, 1932) is an American record producer, executive and a leading music industry executive. He has won multiple Grammy awards and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. From 1967-72 he was the President of Columbia Records, was the founder and president of Arista Records in the late 1970s through 2000 until founding J Records. From 2003 until April 2008, Davis was the Chairman and CEO of the RCA Music Group (which includes RCA Records, J Records and Arista Records), Chairman and CEO of J Records, and Chairman and CEO of BMG North America. Currently Davis is the Chief Creative Officer of Sony Music Entertainment Worldwide. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer. He currently plays a part in the careers of Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Harry Connick, Jr., Leona Lewis and Whitney Houston.
Davis was born in Brooklyn, New York to a Jewish family, the son of Herman and Florence Davis. After spending his first four years in England, Davis was raised in the middle-class neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He received a full scholarship to New York University College of Arts and Science, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1953. He then received a full scholarship to Harvard Law School, where he graduated in 1956. He practiced law in a small firm in New York, then moved on to the firm of Rosenman, Colin, Kaye, Petschek, and Freund two years later, where partner Ralph Colin had CBS as client. Hired by a former colleague at the firm, Harvey Schein, Davis became assistant counsel of CBS subsidiary Columbia Records at the age of twenty-eight.
Davis became a protegé of CBS Records President Goddard Lieberson, and discovered a passion for music which led him up the ranks of Columbia/CBS. In 1967, he became president of Columbia Records and, more or less by accident, he became a convert to the newest generation of folk rock and rock and roll. One of his earliest pop signings was the British folk-rock musician Donovan, who enjoyed a string of successful hit singles and albums released in the USA on the Epic label.